Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not All Ridicule Is Hate Speech

Upgraded and adapted from the Moot to this post, in response to the whining of a Robot Cultist who has been sniping at me for years and really should know better by now:

You were not born a Robot Cultist, let alone an indefatigable proselytizer for the ridiculous views of the Robot Cult for which I ridicule you. I don't know you as a person, and I presume there is more to you than transhumanoid, digital-utopian, and techno-immortalist positions for which you advocate so nonsensically in public places and in ways that solicit scrutiny.

Critique, satire, parody, even ridicule of views and fallacious reasoning is not hate speech, however discomfiting it may be. You actively seek out attention for your views -- indeed, no small share of the ridicule you suffer from me is prompted by comments YOU publish on MY blog -- nor do I occupy a position of privilege over you from which I attack you in some disadvantage or vulnerability over which you have no control and so neither is this properly conceived as a matter even of bullying.

You are simply seeking to insulate some of your dangerous and nonsensical views from criticism through the pathetic charge that such criticism is hate speech unless it is superficial enough to concede the essential seriousness of your discourse or the validity of its most basic premises as I do not.
Debates about political questions, or moral differences, or matters of taste really are contentious and should be. They are contentious because they arise from differences that are really different, and they should be contentious because there are real stakes in play. As someone who actually was traumatically bullied as a kid for being effeminate I do not approve at all the ease with which the seriousness of that issue is evacuated of its substance and treated as an occasion for mostly privileged people to express their distaste at the fact that they are questioned in ways that make them uncomfortable in their enjoyment of their privileges, which is what a lot (obviously not all) of the "incivility" and "negativity" and "online bullying" discussions really finally amount to in my opinion.

1 comment:

jimf said...
The Singularity Is Far

In this post, I wish to propose for the reader’s favorable
consideration a doctrine that will strike many in the nerd
community as strange, bizarre, and paradoxical, but that I
hope will at least be given a hearing. The doctrine in
question is this: while it is possible that, a century hence,
humans will have built molecular nanobots and superintelligent
AIs, uploaded their brains to computers, and achieved eternal
life, these possibilities are not quite so likely as commonly
supposed, nor do they obviate the need to address mundane
matters such as war, poverty, disease, climate change, and
helping Democrats win elections. . .

(Also, if the Singularity ever does arrive, I expect it to
be plagued by frequent outages and terrible customer service.)

The devil you say!